Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Biolab effort falls short but still wins praise

July 18, 2007

Leavenworth County's bid for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility wasn't successful, but that didn't stop congratulatory messages from being passed to members of the Leavenworth County Development Corp. board.

Board members met Wednesday, July 11, and learned that Manhattan -- and not Leavenworth -- was selected as one of five finalists in the running for the Department of Homeland Security's new $451 million laboratory.

Interim Leavenworth City Manager Robyn Stewart, who was a local point person for work on NBAF, commended the group's efforts "in raising the visibility of Leavenworth County."

County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson also said he appreciated everything LCDC board members did to try to draw the biodefense lab to Leavenworth.

"It has been just an absolute pleasure seeing what we can do with a collaborative effort," he said.

Christy Isaacs, LCDC economic development coordinator, who reported on four business prospects for Leavenworth, said, "We've been getting lead after lead that we probably would not have gotten before (because of NBAF)."

One prospect, referred to as Project Rumba, came in from the Kansas City Area Development Council and is in the beginning stages of showing interest in a Leavenworth location.

The development corporation also unanimously voted to fill a recently vacated seat with a new board member, Marissa Gray, who is a business development liaison with Kansas City Kansas Community College.

"I'm happy to be here," Gray said. "It's been our objective to really strengthen economic development. ... I believe in economic growth."

In member reports:

  • Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez talked about the $2.2 million worth of street improvements scheduled for 2008 in Tonganoxie.

He noted that the city is currently taking bids for a new public works facility and will start taking bids for a new swimming pool next month.

Yanez also mentioned the 10 percent population growth that Tonganoxie has experienced.

"With a lot of new housing development, we anticipate our population will continue to grow," Yanez said.

  • Charlie Gregor, executive vice president of the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce, reported on budget proposals, the Main Street Project in Lansing and the possible addition of a new federal prison in Leavenworth.

Gregor said the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons would be making a visit on Sept. 24.

  • LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack reported the group's strategic planning committee was forming a 15- to 20-member steering committee, and a list of names will be brought forward for approval at LCDC's August meeting.
  • Infrastructure Committee Chair Harley Russell reported the hiring of Trammell and Crow Co. to start plans for an 800-acre industrial park to be situated adjacent to a potential regional airport in Leavenworth County.

A specific site for the park still is unknown.

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